A controversial pick to head the state’s early childhood education programs – who was on record opposing the concept of those programs – has turned down the job, as questions mounted about her past remarks in online forums.
Dianna Lightfoot was scheduled to become the director of Childhood Development and Early Education in the state Department of Health and Human Services next week. On Thursday morning, she notified DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos “that she does not wish to be a distraction to the department and will pursue other opportunities,” a statement Wos’ office released mid-day Thursday said.
Wos accepted the decision, the statement said. Lightfood would have made $110,000 annually.
Soon after Wos announced Lightfoot’s hiring on Tuesday, reports began to surface about her positions on several issues, particularly on early childhood education. She had written a policy statement posted online for the Naitional Physicians Center, a nonprofit organization where she was president, questioning the value of those programs, and saying they could lead to “an entitlement mentality.”
By Wednesday night, numerous online messages she had posted on Twitter and Facebook also raised questions about her hard-right and provocative positions. In one post, she had referred in a Tweet to Hillary Clinton as “Hillary and the other butch bunch obama.”
She also referred to a vaccination as “government intervention.”
Gov. Pat McCrory had expressed support for early childhood education on the campaign trail and in remarks since his election. His office on Thursday referred all inquiries to DHHS.